I just got my GoPro Hero 4 and wanted to try the Night Timelapse mode. I have the exposure time set to 30 seconds and the interval between images set to 2 minutes.

My pictures have a few stars on them, but nothing special. I checked and I was pointing the camera towards the milky way - which was visible.

Does anyone have and suggestions which other settings I should tweak to get the best night-time timelapse possible? Possibly Protune?

  • 1
    Can you post a sample image of what you were able to capture with your current settings? What are you trying to capture in your images... stars, star tracks, milky way, moon...? Oct 23, 2014 at 16:17
  • as a result of the timelapse I am looking for a rotating sky where you can see the milky way. Something like: youtu.be/wTcNtgA6gHs?t=3m which was made with a GoPro 4
    – Joseph
    Oct 23, 2014 at 18:38
  • And yes, you absolutely should use ProTune. It's like RAW, basically unprocessed data. Again - marketing - "ProTune" means you are going to tune it, instead of doing it in camera. gopro.com/support/articles/how-to-use-protune
    – Jasmine
    Oct 23, 2014 at 19:04
  • Lowest aperture possible and ISO 2500 or more? Even then I doubt you will be able to do this with a GoPro. Even using a DSLR you need a fast (usually expensive) lens. Most astrophotography is also heavily post processed to bring out the stars. The time laps of moving stars that bounce around youtube and facebook are most likely taken with top quality Pro gear. GoPro just can't compete with that amount of glass and light gathering. Oct 23, 2014 at 20:57
  • Jasmine / Jakub: comments are there to clarify the question; please post an answer if that's what you're doing.
    – Philip Kendall
    Oct 24, 2014 at 7:06

7 Answers 7


After an actual test using my Hero 4 Black, I retract my comment above. Not only is this possible, it doesn't look half bad! I ran for two hours just out in the parking lot here in town - it's not even very dark here, and I was able to see stars moving in the resulting time-lapse! If you went someplace nice and dark, I think it might actually look pretty good.

Here's the settings I used:

  • Interval - 60 Seconds
  • Megapixels - 12MP Wide
  • Spot Meter - OFF (Important!)
  • Shutter - 30 Seconds
  • ProTune - ON
  • White Balance - Auto (will play with this - Auto is probably not best)
  • Color - Flat (will play with this too)
  • Sharpness - Soft

It does not allow you to make a setting for ISO in this mode. I used the bicycle mount to attach the camera to a tripod. I used GoPro Studio to make a video - I had to tweak the exposure and contrast.

The video is here on YouTube. It's terrible, but it shows that stars are visible.

  • Would you be able to share the video so we can see the results? Oct 24, 2014 at 16:13
  • 1
    Yes I will add it later. It's not very good, but you definitely can see the stars. If it was darker it would be good. I want to try a couple more tweaks - and I know if I used Lightroom I could do better than GP Studio
    – Jasmine
    Oct 24, 2014 at 16:33

I'm not intimately familiar with the go-pro. I took a quick glance a the contents page and noticed there's an option for multiple exposures. To accomplish that you'll need something with which to track stars.

Generally that requires an expensive equatorial mount tripod for astronomy telescopes There is a cheaper way. Use your favorite search engine and find the well published free plans for a homemade stat tracking device called a "barn door tracker."

Most DSLR cameras have 3 ways to increase the light gathering properties which are: 1 - Shutter speed - you already set that to about the max for the desired subject. 2 - Aperture - open your aperture wider if possible until you get more light to the camera. 3 - ISO sensitivity - if you can - increase your ISO setting to allow the camera sensor to be more sensitive to the amount of available light. Increased ISO settings will cause "noise" on thefinal product.

Another few things you can experiment with are: 1 - Try shooting brighter objects before going after dim ones. It moght not feel like much of a challenge to shoot the moon, but watch how your camera settings react on the mood and change settings as needed to get a better picture. 2 - After shooting the moon shoot subjects which are less bright such as planets and bright constellations like the 7 sisters or orions belt. 3 - after learning how your camera reacts to the various settings you'll have a better idea how to set the camera when photographing dimmer objects. 4 - Experiment - Experiment - Experiment


The GoPro Hero 4 has a maximum ISO of 800 and a longest shutter of 30 seconds. These are the settings you'll want to use to get the most visible image in low light. They are available with Protune turned on. ISO 800 is supposed to be the default, but make sure it is set to 800.

If those settings don't help, you can try and adjust the Exposure Value Compensation (EV Comp) to +2. The EV Comp may not help since the aperture of the GoPro is fixed at f2.8, but it's worth trying.

Turn the Sharpness setting to Soft. This keeps the photo closer to its original exposure. It can be sharpened later in post if necessary.


I shoot astrophotography as a hobby and with the settings that the GoPro Hero 4 has for photo nightlapse, it SHOULD be able to do a nice time-lapse of stars and the Milky Way.

I just got my go GoPro Hero 4 black last weekend and bought it with the sole purpose of time-lapse. When I read the settings I was surprised that I could do a time-lapse of the Milky Way. At 2.8 fixed ISO 800 and shutter of 30 seconds, that is more than enough to capture the feint details do the Milky Way. Usually most astrophotographers who use a DSLR use ISO 800 or 1600. A mount is needed for longer exposures with longer lenses, but for extreme wide angle lenses you can get away with close to 45-60 seconds on a static tripod.

Your "problem" looking at the video you posted is the light pollution. There cannot be ANY light if you want to pick up the Milky Way. Those who live in cities will have to drive to darker sites. Usually 30-100+ miles from the farthest city if you want to pick up the Milky Way. I usually have to drive 50 miles from Fort Lauderdale to go to Everglades where it's pitch black. The drive sounds painful but when you see the night sky at a true dark site, the world just looks amazing. If I could, I would drive even further. Every mile far from the city counts.

Good luck.


Got some good timelapse footage of the northern lights at Whitehorse and also during the day. Thanks for the tips. I ended up using the CamDo outdoor kit (timelapse and power supply) so i could run it all night (continuous) and at 1min intervals over the day.

Night Lapse Settings

  • Interval - Continuous
  • Megapixels - 12MP Wide
  • Spot Meter - OFF
  • Shutter - 30 Seconds
  • ProTune - ON
  • White Balance - 5500
  • Color - Flat
  • Sharpness - Soft

I agree with most of the settings above, but I would make sure to have the shutter set to 30s and the whitebalance at 3000K. Beyond the settings, Southernexposure123 was right about experimentation. Many factors like the moon, light pollution, visibility, and position will affect the shot so just keep trying for a couple nights.

If you are interested, I've posted many night lapses as well as full instructions for filming and editing a GoPro night lapse over on my website viabell. Using the GoPro: All Night Time-Lapse – Settings and Setup Tutorial goes through the settings, setup, environment, and techniques that will set you up for success. I hope it helps!

  • I just posted a new Protune Tutorial that addresses your exact question. It's a detailed guide for everything you need to know about protune and night lapse settings. Jun 4, 2016 at 19:26

I've been working with the Hero 4 silver night lapse. I had to back down the shutter speed to 20 seconds and the ISO down to 400 due to getting too many hot pixels. I have seen some videos online that also suffer from hot pixels and did not fix them in post. ISO 400 seems plenty on a bright night and the footage is cleaner. I also made a track matte in post to cover any artifacts, which worked really well. I'm still waiting for the perfect night for the Milky Way (the last few weeks have had storms every night). Sample clip.

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